Torfaen schools ready to celebrate 15 years of UK's largest travel to school challenge

Posted on: Monday 11 March 2024

This week marks the start of the Big Walk and Wheel fortnight which aims to encourage school children to travel to school actively.

The event which is in its 15th year is run by Sustrans Cymru, the charity that aims to make walking, wheeling, and cycling easier.

This year, seven schools in Torfaen have signed up to challenge to see which one can record the most amount of active travel journeys.

The challenge is delivered by Sustrans, the charity that aims to make walking, wheeling, and cycling easier, in partnership with headline sponsors Schwalbe Tyres UK and Torfaen County Borough Council.

Siani Colley-Nester, Sustrans Cymru Curriculum and Communications Co-ordinator, said: “Millions of pupils have risen to the challenge and embraced active travel throughout these past 15 years of Sustrans’ Big Walk and Wheel, and who wouldn’t when the competition is such fun?

“Not only are pupils and their families enjoying the delights of an active school commute, they’re also saving money and improving congestion and the environment around their schools.”

Sustrans’ Big Walk and Wheel is open to all primary and secondary schools in the UK, including ALN schools and PRUs, with prizes to be won every day.

Free resources are available to encourage pupils to help reduce air pollution and learn about the benefits of active travel for themselves, their schools, their neighbourhoods, and the planet.

Since data collection for the challenge began in 2011, a staggering 23.9 million miles (1) have been travelled by pupils taking over 15.9 million active travel journeys to school.

That equates to around 200 trips to the moon, or over 1,900 journeys around the Earth (1), saving 12,700 tonnes of CO2 polluting the air on the school run, from 31.7 million car journeys had the participants been driven to and from school (1).

Just under 2.7 million active journeys to 1,862 participating schools took place during the 2023 challenge, saving an estimated 1,890 tonnes of CO2 emissions if the journeys logged had otherwise been made by car (2).

Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans, said: “For 15 years, millions of pupils across the UK have enjoyed taking part in the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel by walking, wheeling, and cycling to school with friends and family… and winning prizes along the way!

“The challenge shows how people of all ages want to travel actively. Parents save money by not having to drive and children get to be out and about exploring their world. This gives our children healthy habits they can take with them into adulthood.”

Torfaen Council’s active travel team is supporting local schools to develop Active Travel School Plans and to put infrastructure in place to support pupils to walk, bike or scoot to school.

Eight schools in the borough have completed Active Travel School Plans, with eight more working on their own plans.

Find out more about active travel in Torfaen

Join in

Comment and share your active journeys to school, using the hashtag #BigWalkandWheel

Find out more about registering for the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel 2024.


Notes to Editors

(1)    These figures are an estimation only, and depend on a number of assumptions and national or regional averages

(2)    Based on approximation of assumed modes of travel

Last Modified: 11/03/2024 Back to top